Slip Alley XIV

Sveta taps her newly manicured
emerald nails
on the cold glass of the window,
the silver is pretty, matches
the clouds in the sky.

What to call the man
with the silk tie and red beard,
she taps an SOS, Eric, of course
she thinks, Eric the Red.


Eric checks the ATM. Sure enough,
10,000 dollars but why a woman,
and why a beauty,
still the deed is done
and he is much richer.

Yet a face from a passing train
nags, he mistimed his lunge,
the train wasn’t supposed to be there,
he’d checked the timetable,
and now –  a witness – her white doll face
seared into his retinas,
each time he shuts his eyes
there she is, an afterimage.

He hasn’t slept peacefully
since that night. He carefully
tracked her to her street, following her
as she strutted with her Prada bag
and violet kabuki made up eyes,
all paint and front, he thought,
tonight she’ll be collateral damage.

He finds a pub, his stomach rumbling,
he orders steak and chips and beer.
The food arrives,
the waitress young and pretty,
he is old enough to be her father,
he flirts imagining all
the carnal secrets
he could teach her,
she smiles politely
bustling away even though
she isn’t busy.

He stabs
his steak with a blunt fork.
He calls the waitress
to bring another beer, chews
the tender bloody meat
his eyes glaze over lustily.

Tonight he’ll strike. His favourite
silk tie lies uneasily
in his inside pocket.


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